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Riga

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Riga
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Information

Country

Latvia

Population

693,064

Area

304 km2 (117 sq mi)

Ethnic Groups

Latvians 44.6 %
Russians 39.1 %
Belarusians 4.1 %
Ukrainians 3.7 %
Poles 1.9 %

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Tips for: backpackersbusiness travelersluxury/exotic travelhitchhikersfamiliesseniorsLBG travelerspet owners

Riga mosaic

Riga, Latvia

Riga is the capital city of Latvia and the main industrial, transaction, culture, sports and financial city in the Baltic states, with nearly 700 000 inhabitants (2012). Riga is famous with its Old town (Old Riga), which is significant with its Art Nouveau architecture and is one of UNESCO world heritage sites.

Hotels and lodging

Attractions

LDZ (Latvian Railways) has made a list of ten places that should be visited when in Riga:

Freedom Monument

Briiviibas piemineklis

Freedom Monument

Freedom Monument (Latvian: Brīvības Piemineklis) was built to honor those Latvian soldiers who died during Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920), however, now it is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Latvia and it's people. The 42 metres (126 ft) high monument was built in 1935 from granite, travertine and copper by donations of Latvian people. The sculptures and bas-reliefs, arranged in 13 groups, depict Latvian history and culture. In the front of the monument there is a dedication by the Latvian writer Kārlis Skalbe, inscribed on one of the travertine panels: "For Fatherland and Freedom". The obelisc is topped by a copper figure of Liberty, which holds three gilded stars, symbolizing the unification of three parts (not regions) of Latvia: Courland, Latgale and Vidzeme. After World War II when Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union, there were plans to restore the statue of Peter the Great, but the only way to do it was to tear down the Freedom Monument. The soviet sculptor Vera Mukhina is sometimes credited as the saviour of the monument, as reported by her son her opinion was that the monument was of very high artistic value and that its demolition might hurt the most sacred feelings of the Latvian people. The Freedom Monument remained, but its symbolism was reinterpreted. The three stars were said to stand for the newly created Baltic Soviet Republics – Estonian SSR, Latvian SSR, and Lithuanian SSR – held aloft by Mother Russia. Since the restoration of Latvian independence, the monument has recovered it's importance as a symbol of Latvian freedom, independence and sovereignty. Interestingly, the statue is faced against Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, thus indirectly symbolising Latvian desire to aim for the peaks.

Alberta Street

Riga Central Market

Riga Cathedral (Rīgas Doms)

St. Peter's Church

Three Brothers

Swedish Gate

Building of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads

Old Riga Buildings

Building of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads

Building of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads aka House of the Blackheads is one of the most iconic landmarks of Old Riga. The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild of unmarried German merchants in Riga. Major works were done in the years 1580 and 1886, adding most of the ornamentations.

The structure was bombed to a ruin by the Germans June 28, 1941 and the remains demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999. Since 2012 it houses the office of the president of Latvia while Riga Castle is being renovated.

TV Tower

Latvian Etnographic Open Air Museum

Shopping

Maps and transportation

Getting to Riga

Exploring Riga

Practical information and resources

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